International Admissions

CCA’s culture of inclusion and collaboration offers an ideal learning environment for international students to do their best work. You’ll join a creative community where one-third of all students are international. We empower students from over 42 countries to create work that makes the world a better place.


Develop your artistic talents at CCA, where international students get the support they need to succeed

students collaborate on an architecture project in the studio

Grow your skills in a collaborative community

From submitting your undergraduate or graduate admissions application to applying for your visa, we provide the personalized support you need to pursue your career in the arts. Our global community of artists, makers, and entrepreneurs is ready to welcome international students to an exciting studio culture at CCA through residence hall programming, clubs, collegewide events, and more. You’ll also have easy access to thriving industries in design and technology, thanks to CCA’s central location in the San Francisco Bay Area’s arts and design hub.


Admissions counselors are standing by

We’re here to answer your international admissions questions through a number of channels, including email, ground mail, fax, and phone.

International students working in a classroom on campus in San Francisco.

International Admissions

+1 415-551-9200 (call only)

[email protected]

Schedule an appointment with a counselor


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Username: cca.admission
Online hours: 8:30–10 am and 3–4:30 pm (PT)

Fax number

+1 415-703-9539

Physical Address

80 Carolina, first floor
San Francisco, CA 94107 USA
Hours: M–F, 8 am–4:30 pm
Get directions

Postal address

Office of Admissions
California College of the Arts
1111 Eighth Street
San Francisco, CA 94107-2247 USA


Starting the international admissions process

Undergraduate international deadlines

International students applying as undergraduates have the same application deadlines as domestic undergraduate students. CCA practices rolling admissions, which means applications can be submitted for review after the priority deadlines, but merit scholarships may not still be available.

Fall semester

Nov 15

First-year early action deadline

First-year applicants should submit an application by this deadline to guarantee merit scholarship consideration.

Feb 01

Undergraduate fall priority deadline: First-year scholarships

First-year applicants must submit an application by this deadline to be considered for all undergraduate institutional scholarships, including the Visionary Practice Scholarship, merit, named, and all-college honors.

Mar 01

Transfer fall priority deadline

Transfer applicants should submit an application by this deadline to guarantee merit scholarship consideration.

Spring semester

Oct 01

Undergraduate spring priority deadline for first-year and transfer students

Deadline for first-year and transfer applicants to submit applications for spring semester to guarantee consideration for institutional scholarships.

Undergraduate application requirements

To apply for undergraduate admission to CCA, international students must create, gather, and submit the following:

If you have questions about the application process, please email us at [email protected].

Admissions process in other languages

To simplify the enrollment process for international students, we have translations of CCA's international admissions process and requirements available in Chinese and Korean.

For United States citizens whose primary language is Spanish, we also offer a Spanish translation of CCA's admissions process and requirements.

Transcripts: Transfer and second-degree applicants

If you plan to transfer academic credits earned at non-U.S. institutions, you must submit a translated evaluation of your postsecondary (college) transcript(s). You will need to use an evaluation agency recommended by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE) to prepare such an evaluation.

We recommend the following services:

English Requirements (UG)

English proficiency is essential for your practice

Engage at the highest level

CCA’s critique culture is the bedrock of our energetic, exciting, and interdisciplinary environment. To navigate it well and learn the most during your time here, you’ll need a solid foundation in the English language.

English proficiency requirements

English proficiency requirements are fulfilled based on the following criteria:

We reserve the right to request proof of English proficiency regardless of citizenship or if the requirement is initially granted before the application review process.

These English proficiency requirements apply to the college admissions process only. These requirements do not apply to our Writing Placement policy.

Sending your ETS and CEEB scores to CCA

When preparing to take these tests or to request your scores, use the following school codes:

  • TOEFL, IELTS, and SAT: 4031
  • ACT: 0176

Undergraduate testing requirements


CCA accepts the following versions of the TOEFL exam. International undergraduate applicants must earn a minimum score of the following:

  • TOEFL Essentials: 10-11.5
  • Internet-based (iBT): 80
  • TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition: 80
  • TOEFL ITP Plus for China: 627


CCA accepts an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) minimum score of 6.5 or higher.

Duolingo English Test

CCA accepts the Duolingo English Test with a score of 120.

C1 Advanced (formerly known as CAE)

CCA accepts a Cambridge English: C1 Advanced minimum score of Grade C or higher.


CCA accepts a Common European Framework of Reference for Languages minimum score of C1 or higher.

PTE Academic

CCA accepts a Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) minimum score of 58 or greater.

Alternatives to the English proficiency requirement

We have many ways for international students to satisfy their English proficiency requirement. Explore your options below.

Other testing options

  • Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores
    • After March 2016: SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section score of 32 and above in both the Writing and Language test and the Reading test.
    • Before March 2016: SAT Critical Reading and Writing score of 490 or greater in both sections.
  • ACT English and Reading subsections scores of 20 or greater
  • IB English A score of 4 or greater (we do not accept English B)
  • AP English Language score of 3 or greater
  • O Levels (IGCSE) First Language English – C or greater
  • A or AS Level English Language or English Literature – C or greater

Other ways to demonstrate proficiency

This first waiver option is offered at the discretion of the Office of International Admissions:

  • Minimum three years’ attendance at an English-speaking secondary school in the U.S., at an international school, or at a four-year college or university with English as a medium of instruction. We’ll review your transcripts when they are submitted with your application to evaluate that you’ve received the equivalent of a C or higher in your regular English classes. We don’t accept ESL/ELL/ELD classes.

Here are more ways to demonstrate proficiency:

  • Completion of U.S.-transferable coursework equivalent to English 1A (writing) and/or 1B (literature) with a grade of C or above
  • Completion of ELS Language Center, Level 112
  • Completion of The Language Company, Level 9

If you believe you should be exempt from taking a proof of English language proficiency test, please email [email protected].

What if you need to improve your English skills before enrolling at CCA?

Occasionally, students can be accepted to CCA on the condition that they enroll and complete an approved English language course and submit proof of English proficiency.

You may enroll at one of the following language centers in the United States and complete the necessary level indicated. You must send proof of your passing grade to your CCA international admissions counselor.


Apply to one of the best art colleges in the U.S.

Graduate international deadlines

International students applying as graduate students have the same application deadline as domestic graduate students. CCA practices rolling admissions, which means applications can be submitted for review after the priority deadlines, but merit scholarships may not still be available.

Jan 15

Graduate application priority deadline

Deadline to submit an application for institutional scholarship consideration and admission for the following academic year. Applications received after this date will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

English Requirements (Grad)

Gain opportunities with strong English skills

Articulate your practice

As a CCA graduate student, you’ll meet with faculty, peers, visiting artists, working professionals, mentors, and more. The ability to clearly communicate a concept and understand other multi-disciplinary terminology or ideas is important to your success.

English proficiency requirements

Unless English is the official language of your home country, you must submit one of the following test scores:

Scores are valid for two years from when the test was originally taken. If more than two years have passed, you must retake the test for CCA to consider it as part of your application.

Sending your ETS and CEEB scores to CCA

When preparing to take the TOEFL or IELTS, or to request your scores from these tests, use the school code 4031.

Graduate testing requirements


CCA accepts the following versions of the TOEFL exam. International graduate applicants must earn a minimum score of the following:

  • TOEFL Essentials: 12
  • Internet-based (iBT): 100
  • TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition: 100


CCA accepts a minimum International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 7.5 or higher.

C1 Advanced (formerly known as CAE)

CCA accepts a Cambridge English: C1 Advanced minimum score of Grade B or higher.


CCA accepts a minimum Common European Framework of Reference for Languages score of C2 or higher.

PTE Academic

CCA accepts a minimum Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) score of 73 or higher.

Duolingo English Test

Graduate Programs at CCA will accept a Duolingo score of 120 or higher.

How do you qualify for an English proficiency waiver?

If you’re an international student who has studied and graduated from a college in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, or Australia within the last five years of submitting a graduate application, you’re eligible to have the English proficiency exam waived.

If more than five years have passed since graduating, you must take and pass one of the above English language proficiency exams.

Visas & Scholarships

Resources to study in the USA

Dedicated to your success

We truly value the ideas and experiences that you’ll bring to our community. Our financial aid for international students and knowledge of the student visa process can augment your efforts to study at CCA.

Three steps to apply for your F-1 visa

We know the student visa and I-20 process can feel overwhelming, so we’ve broken it down for you into three steps. If at any time you need assistance, please feel free to contact us.

Student visa and I-20 process

Step 1: Prepare financial documents

You must submit financial documentation that demonstrates your ability to cover the cost of attending CCA for at least one academic year. You can view an estimated total cost to attend CCA for the current academic year, which is revised annually.

If someone besides you (such as your parents, relatives, or other sponsors) will be providing some or all financial resources for your studies, a letter of support must accompany the official bank statement (translated to English), with the total amount indicated in U.S. currency. You can find a template for the letter of support that your sponsor(s) can fill out in the I-20 Request Form.

All financial documents are completely confidential.

Step 2: Submit required paperwork

CCA will not issue you an I-20 until you have been admitted to the college, have paid the enrollment deposit, and have submitted all of the following through your Workday Student account:

  • Completed I-20 Request Form
  • Financial documents showing proof of funding
  • Personal information page from your passport

Note for graduate students: You’ll receive immigration information after paying your nonrefundable graduate enrollment deposit of $500 USD online ($115 is applied to register fees, and $385 is applied to your fall semester).

Step 3: Request student visa (F-1)

Once we receive your documents, International Student Services will send you an official CCA I-20. Your I-20 will be express mailed to you at the address you provide on the I-20 Request Form, and you’ll be notified with the tracking number.

Take your new CCA I-20, the I-901 fee receipt, the original bank statement(s), and your CCA letter of acceptance to a U.S. embassy or consulate to obtain a student visa (F-1) for entry into the United States.

What are your country-specific requirements?

Each U.S. embassy or consulate around the world may require documents in addition to those listed above. Check the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate from where you plan to apply for your F-1 visa for a list of all requirements.

What if you’re currently studying in the United States?

If you’re currently studying in the U.S. with an F-1 status, you must submit both an I-20 Request Form and the Request for Release of SEVIS Record Form.

Your current international advisor will need to transfer your SEVIS record to CCA and complete part of the Request for Release of SEVIS Record Form. In addition, to maintain F-1 status, you must carry a full-time course load each semester (minimum 12 undergraduate units). To ensure you can continue to study at CCA, please read about how to maintain your F-1 status.

Undergraduate scholarships

Nearly half of all international students at CCA are awarded merit scholarships, ranging from $18,000 to $27,000 USD, based on a student's portfolio and academic success. Here’s who can be considered:

  • All college transfer students who apply for admissions for fall by the priority deadline are considered for merit scholarships
  • All high school seniors applying for fall admission who have completed their admissions application by February 1 are considered for merit scholarships

Note: CCA cannot offer financial aid in the form of federal loans or federal work-study to international students.

Graduate scholarships

Graduate scholarships range from $12,000 to $49,000 USD. Scholarships are highly selective and are issued by the graduate programs based on the strength of the student's application. If you’d like to be considered for a merit scholarship, please apply by the January 15 deadline. Please note that CCA cannot offer financial aid to international students in the form of federal loans or federal work-study. Learn more about financial aid.

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Work-study programs

We sponsor several opportunities for international students to gain work experience while getting an education at CCA. If you’re interested in finding a job, explore employment options for international students.

Employment options for international students

On-campus employment

International students with F-1 status may participate in CCA’s Student Employment Program, which offers paid positions on campus as well as opportunities to work in local nonprofit organizations that partner with CCA.

Work performed on the college’s premises for an outside contractor or firm, such as a campus cafe, is also permitted if the employer provides direct services to students.

Off-campus employment

International students who have maintained F-1 status for at least nine consecutive months may request authorization to accept non-college employment in their field of study:

Curricular Practical Training authorizes you to accept employment that’s endorsed by a college internship program, employment that’s required for completion of the degree program, or employment for which you’re otherwise eligible to receive academic credit.

Optional Practical Training allows you to work outside of the curriculum in positions commensurate with your level of education. This work authorization may be granted during or immediately after your program of study. Most students choose to participate in this program following graduation since it allows you an additional year of experience in the United States.

To take advantage of either practical training program, you must obtain prior approval from CCA’s international student advisor and the U.S. immigration service.

Although international students’ options for lawful employment are varied, specific eligibility criteria and competition for a limited number of positions restricts your participation in these programs. You shouldn’t rely on income from U.S. employment to meet your cost of attendance. You should also note that immigration regulations don’t allow U.S. employment of F-2 dependents (spouses and children of F-1 students).

Other financial aid resources

International students are not eligible for need-based financial aid, but you may search for additional aid resources from the following organizations.

A word of caution: If a scholarship has an application fee, don't apply. If you have to pay money to get money, it’s probably a scam.

Private loans

If you’re an international student seeking a private loan, additional lenders may exist other than those noted here. You are not required to borrow a loan and/or select a lender from the resources provided by CCA. We’ll process private loans from any eligible lender you select. CCA may not deny the choice of a lender or cause unnecessary delay in loan certification for any eligible student.

Admitted Students

Your best work is yet to come

We’re excited for you to join CCA’s culture of inclusivity and collaboration, where your artistic talents will be brought to their full potential

Renowned faculty, innovative facilities, and a unique, inclusive culture in the Bay Area makes CCA one of the best art colleges in the world. With everything from pre-arrival guides to international ambassadors, we’re committed to setting you up for success at CCA.

Take the next step toward enrollment:

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